I’ve always liked Henry Ford’s saying, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”. It hits hard, and it’s meant to. We’re usually our own biggest obstacle standing in the way of success – not money, not time and not opportunity. So often we’re plagued by excuses and self-doubt to the extent that we don’t even attempt things, or we give up at the first sign of trouble. Over time, we build up resentment and pessimism, and may even start believing the excuses and feeling sorry for ourselves instead of rolling up our sleeves to forge ahead with grit and determination.
As we know, excuses are just made-up defences in order to feel better about our inaction and to avoid taking responsibility. Sometimes, it’s just easier having someone, or something external beyond our control to blame. Our excuses may have worked for us as children and helped to avert a bit of trouble or embarrassment, but as we get older, our excuses become more transparent and ineffectual while chipping away at our credibility along the way.
As we wind down this series on letting go, let’s learn how to let go of excuses and self-doubt so we can push forward and reach new heights.
How to Stop Making Excuses
- Own it – Take responsibility for your actions (or lack of action) and don’t blame others. Even if something is out of your control such as a big weather catastrophe or someone backed out of a commitment on you, it doesn’t mean your path is permanently blocked off, it just means you need to work around the obstacles.
- Get better at managing time – We have 24 hours in a day just like everyone else, we just need to use them more wisely and prioritize. With some self-discipline and commitment, you’d be surprised at how much more time is freed up to start chipping away at those goals. No one is ‘too busy’ to do something that really matters.
- Take risks – The only way to move forward in life is to take a few risks here and there. Be bold. Be brave, and don’t look back. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, embrace it! There will be mistakes and hardships, but that’s how we learn and grow.
- Stay focused on the goal – When life gets in the way (and it will on occasion) it may just means that whatever it is you are trying to accomplish will take a bit longer. Whether it’s a new baby, an injury, depleted funds, or something else altogether, keep thinking of the long-term objective, and resume action as soon as possible.
To see real results, we need to look inward and assess the real reasons we’ve avoided or given up on important goals. It takes a new way of thinking to let go of pointing fingers or blaming others. Just own it, learn from it, and keep moving.
We’re never too young, old, busy or broke…we have to commit to the fact that where there’s a will there IS a way. Are you dreaming of getting in shape, or running a marathon? What about travelling, starting a business venture, landing that dream job, or getting a degree or diploma? Sure, there may be setbacks and difficulties, but you’re tough…and you’ve got no more excuses.
“People with integrity do what they say they are going to do. Others have excuses.” ― Dr. Laura Schlessinger